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Unions target German-style 5% pay rises

Unions and employers are due to negotiate pay rises for next year, but progress is slow and unions are preparing for coordinated industrial action.

Asiakkaita ruokakaupan kassoilla.
Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle
Yle News,

Blue-collar unions are targeting a 5 percent pay rise, and are willing to coordinate industrial action to get it, according to a press release from the trade union confederation SAK on Monday.

Talks are due to start in multiple sectors, but SAK says progress has not been rapid.

"Employer organisations have passed responsibility to employers in technology and industry, as other employer bodies have refused to negotiate their own collective agreements until the technology and industry deal has been struck," said Jarkko Eloranta, SAK chair, in the press release.

SAK and its member unions are ready to coordinate industrial actions including strikes, in order to get a deal.

Eloranta says the SAK goal is to get a deal comparable to that achieved by IG Metall, the German industrial union. Workers covered by that agreement will see pay rise by 5.2 percent in 2023 and 3.3 percent in 2024, and will also receive a tax-free 3,000 inflation payment in two instalments.

Inflation in Finland has been running at more than eight percent in 2022.

Unions also want some social insurance payments to be transferred back to employers, to increase net pay for wage-earners.

Traditionally unions and employers have not announced negotiation goals publicly. Jarkko Ruohoniemi, who negotiates on behalf of Technology Finland, told Helsingin Sanomat that this was a "new approach" from the unions.

He declined to comment on the demands themselves.

Most workers in Finland are covered by collective agreements dictating terms and conditions and minimum wages, whether or not they belong to a union. Minimum pay rises are also laid out in these agreements, and the increases apply to everyone in the sector.


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